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Parents deregistering children to avoid paying school fees
7 July 2020, 5:43 PM

Parents are deregistering their children from school to avoid paying school fees, while on the other hand, some schools are reporting that parents are defaulting on paying fees because they have lost their jobs.

Other parents are refusing to pay because their children have not been going to school. This appears to have mainly affected lower grades and pre-schools.

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in most learners losing half of the school year and parents questioning why they should continue paying fees.

A single parent of a Grade 9 learner, who attends a public school, is struggling to pay the R4 000 monthly school fee.  And now with the current pandemic, her situation is even worse.

“The school fees are almost R4 000 a month. Sometimes I won’t be able to pay, but you can negotiate with the school. They give you terms on how to pay, but that’s not good enough. It’s going to be worse this year (2020) because we haven’t been paying for months and we are waiting for feedback,” says the parent.

The last time she paid school fees was in March. She does not understand why she should keep paying because, although her son is doing some online education, she feels she is the one shouldering the burden and not the school.

“It is unfair because this online thing, it’s us again who are buying the data; it’s us again who are assisting them. We are using our own things now. So, why am I paying school fees? For material, everything, my data; if there’s research, I have to buy data for him.”

In the video below, online learning is discussed:

She’s not the only one struggling. School governing bodies say many schools are battling because parents are not meeting their financial obligations to schools.

Chairperson of the Federation for South African Schools, Paul Colditz, says some parents cannot afford to pay fees for their children’s education because they’ve lost their jobs while others are simply being defiant.

“Some parents are also refusing or reluctant because they argue they are not receiving a service. But the payment of school fees is a statutory obligation and parents, who are unable to afford the payment, must contact schools to apply for exemptions of school fees in public schools,” says Colditz.

Over 90% of schools in South Africa are no-fee paying schools. However, for fee-paying schools, the money goes towards operational costs including paying for extra teachers.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga has called on parents to continue paying.

“And my request, humbly so, to parents who have their children in fee-paying schools is that they must try to pay because the way we fund those schools is different. Where we could be funding R1 300 per learner in Parktown, we are only giving them R100 which means those schools are dependent on parent contribution. So, we are appealing on those parents to continue paying school fees so that schools can continue to run.”

In the video below, Yilungelo Lakho looks at the implications of not paying school fees during the lockdown. 

Twickenham Platinum Mine lays off more than 50 workers
7 July 2020, 4:54 PM

More than 50 people have been laid off as Anglo Platinum’s Twickenham mine closes some operations at its Mopetsi camp, outside Burgersfort, in Limpopo. Several local businesses also had their contracts terminated.

The Twickenham Platinum Mine has been under care and maintenance since 2016. In 2017, another mine, jointly owned by Anglo-Platinum and Atlatsa Resources, was put under care and maintenance.

The camp had been turned into an isolation place for people affected by COVID-19, but was closed due to community unrest.

The mining communities in the platinum belt of Sekhukhune area in Limpopo continue to feel the strain of unemployment. Thousands of people have become jobless.

At Twickenham’s Mopetsi camp, the contracts of local businesses were terminated as the mine ceases some operations as it is under care and maintenance.

Leader of the small businesses, known as Sekhukhune G9 companies, Calvin Mashabela has expressed his disappointment on the closure of the Mopetsi camp.

“We feel very much disappointed. Twickenham doesn’t regard us as their partners. Our families are severely affected because now there’s no source of income. We’ve got accounts that we are supposed to pay every month. We can’t. We’ve got kids to look after. There’s this pandemic and your life just dramatically changed.”

Mashabela believes there is something untoward as he alleges that they have been working for two years without contracts.

“The very same developer failed to give us a contract, which is actually the basic. You can’t work for somebody without knowing because, in the contract, the job description is mentioned. Since 2016 until 2020, we’ve been looking for a contract, which does not come up. We got chased away just because now we need the contract.”

Workers, whose employment has been terminated, have expressed disappointment.

Keith Kgwete and Rebotile Malatji say they will now struggle to put food on the table for their families.

Anglo-Platinum Spokesperson Jana Marais says the facility, which had been converted into an isolation place for COVID-19 patients, had to be close as they feared the safety of their employees due to threats from the mining communities.

“Following the outbreak of COVID-19, Mopetsi camp was converted into an isolation facility with more than 600 beds. This required specialised services, which were not available in the Twickenham communities. An agreement was reached with a new service provider to employ people from the local communities and about 85% of those employees were locals. Unfortunately, following security threats to our employees as well as to the new service providers, the decision was made to cancel the contract and close the camp as an isolation facility and it will remain on care and maintenance.”

The future of the closed platinum mines, Bokoni and Twickenham, is not clear at this stage.

Plans underway to establish State Bank: Treasury
7 July 2020, 2:58 PM

The National Treasury says plans are underway for the establishment of the State Bank. Treasury was briefing a joint meeting of the Finance committees of both the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces on its annual performance.

In the State of Nation Address, President Cyril Ramaphosa confirmed that the government was set to establish the Sovereign Wealth Fund and the State Bank.

Ramaphosa also said he supports the establishment of additional banks in South Africa that would focus on offering services to people living in the townships.

The President said he would like to see a bank that also focuses on small and medium enterprises, which are key to the financial welfare of the country.

In the video below, SACP welcomes President Cyril Ramaphosa’s decision to develop a Sovereign Wealth Fund and a State Bank. 

Treasury Director-General Dondo Mogajane says a preliminary report on the establishment of the State Bank has been finalised and will be presented to Cabinet.

“Work has been done. A preliminary report done by our G-tech, which is a subsidiary of Treasury, has been completed to inform us of the options that are available for us as we move towards finalisation of the establishment of the State Bank. So the next step is for it to go to Cabinet for preliminary thoughts on what we think we have or ideal what it will be like.”

Challenges

In February, an economist at Old Mutual Investment, Johann Els, said it will be extremely difficult for the government to find capital for the establishment of a State Bank and funds for starting a sovereign wealth fund.

Els said the government has too many financial problems to deal with for it to successfully establish the two entities.
“On the other part, Eskom’s problems remain unresolved, calls for free education. We would have done a whole lot better than where we actually are. They can’t run the state-owned enterprises effectively. Where are we you to find the money to capitalise the state bank, where are going to find the money to state a Sovereign Wealth Fund. There are lots of other problems that we must fix first.”

‘Motshekga failed to provide psycho-social support for learners, teachers’
5 July 2020, 9:39 PM

The National Professional Teachers Oganisation (Naptosa) says Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga has failed to outline a plan to provide psycho-social support for learners and teachers in the midst of rising coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in the country.

Motshekga says all Grade R learners must have returned to school by the end of July.

In the video below, Motshekga announces that grade 6 and 11 learners will return to class on Monday:

Motshekga says 4% of schools nationwide were forced to close and re-open because of COVID-19 since classes resumed for Grades seven and 12 on 8 June.

Grade six and 11 will return on Monday, but only schools that are ready to receive Grade R should do so on Monday.

In the video below, is Motshekga’s full briefing on second phase of schools’ reopening:
 

Naptosa Executive Director, Basil Manuel, says a teacher or learner testing positive has an immense psychological impact on the whole school and parents.

“What she misses out on is the psychological impact of a positive case; what that has on the broader school community, including the rest of the teachers. And yes, of course, there have been relatively, but you haven’t seen how people have crumbled just from the idea that somebody within their midst has tested positive and there has been a sore lack of psycho-social support for our teachers and by extension our learners as well.”

The ANC says as more learners are set to resume schooling, parents must teach their children the necessary precautions in order to protect themselves from COVID-19.

ANC Spokesperson Pule Mabe echoed President Cyril Ramaphosa’s call for South Africans to embrace the new way of life and ensure their safety and the safety of others. Mabe says the ANC is monitoring the work done by its structures in all provinces.

“Unless our people practice the necessary precautions, we will not be able to defeat this. We are continuing to use ANC structures on a daily basis to monitor the work that is happening at each and every ward throughout the country; monitor cases to find the best ways to fight the pandemic.”

Not a good idea

Some parents and learners say it is not a good idea that Motshekga is phasing in the return of more grades. They say with more learners going to back to school, exposure to COVID-19 is very high.

“I’m also a parent with a child from foundation phase who goes back to school. I don’t even know how I feel; I’m so scared. We will see what’s going to happen with our children, whether they will be safe,” one parent says.

One Grade 11 learner says he’s scared to go back to school amid the pandemic.

“I don’t feel safe with coronavirus because is in the air. We mingle with many people on our way school. Learning from home is a good idea because we are going to be safe as we don’t meet with other people. We should just use online learning.”

South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) Secretary General is Mugwena Maluleke says the phasing in of only three grades is an indication that the department is not ready to receive all the learners.

“Our submission to the Minister had been to study the rising in numbers of the infections in the communities and the delay in phasing in other grades. However, we note that grades six and 11 will then be phased in. Our position remains that any school that is not in terms of the safety and health precaution should not risk receiving the learners.”

Below is the full statement by Angie Motshekga:

Real Madrid now seven points clear of Barca following win over Bilbao
5 July 2020, 8:13 PM

Real Madrid took a huge step towards the La Liga title, to provisionally move seven points clear of fierce rivals Barcelona. Zinedine Zidane’s men claimed maximum points through a Sergio Ramos penalty for a 1-0 win over Athletic Bilbao.

It was a battle of the two best defensive sides in La Liga and, as expected, it was a tough encounter for both sides, having played to a draw in their last two fixtures.

Coming to this encounter, Madrid had not been defeated since the resumption of the season. As Barcelona continues to drop points, it was another opportunity for Zidane’s side to continue winning.

The first 45 minutes proved to be a close match with a few dangerous approaches from both sides. Madrid had moments of dominance, but failed to convert their few chances at goal, while the home side was also guilty of not taking advantage when the opportunity came through.

In the second half, Athletic took charge of the match, but a foul on Marcelo in the 68th minute led to a penalty for the visitors, as the Brazilian went flying in the area. The referee decided to consult the VAR screen before he could point to the spot kick.

Ramos stepped up to convert. It was his fifth goal in seven matches since the restart of the season and it proved to be the decider in an intense encounter.

Despite not dominating, Madrid was ahead on the day and leading Barcelona by seven points at the summit of the La Liga.

Athletic seemed derailed by the Ramos penalty with the visitors enjoying more possession during the final minutes of the match to ensure they secure all three points.

Weather

 

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